By Denise DuBois
Michigan native Dennis Beson begins the new year as the Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce President. He came to Phenix City by way of Junction City, Kansas, where he was the president and CEO of the Junction City Area chamber of Commerce for two years. He grew the chamber of commerce with approximately 300 members to 400 members over his tenure.
“I think where my success lies is member relations and growing membership. I was always part of the chamber in my area, whether involved as a member or involved as an ambassador,” Beson said. Throughout his more-than-25-year career in sales and management and owning his own business, the local chamber of commerce was part of his network. “I’ve had a lot of experience with chambers. It was kind of the career where I wanted to head. I think it’s very beneficial to have an advocate in the chamber, to push networking, to push political issues. I can truly say I believe in chambers. It works if you work it. It doesn’t work if you write a check once a year and don’t follow it.”
Beson said he’s excited to be in an area with a lot of buzz.
“I saw the excitement and the positivity that’s going on here and with neighbors across the river,” he said. Having neighbors is what works for an area, as he believes the chamber, economic development, city and county all have the responsibility of working together to create a great community. He plans to meet with the economic development directors (city and county) to get a feel for the help he needs because the entities can work together as a team.
With a customer service background and specialty in member services with the chamber of commerce, an area that Beson is passionate about is supporting members and shopping locally with chamber members.
“One thing you will start hearing is, ‘Shop with a chamber member first.’ That is a two-sided statement. I don’t want people to think if they’re not in the chamber that I’m not supporting them, but there is power in membership. Joining has benefits well beyond networking. There is the advocacy part and if you have trouble with taxes or legislation, it’s our job to be that advocate and stand up for our members,” he said.
Over the next few months, members and prospective members can expect to see Beson at businesses and events.
“I want members to see me in their offices around town. I want people to see me in the community. I have a residence in Phenix City. I’m here and I’m part of this community,” he said.
Reach Beson at the Phenix City-Russell County Chamber of Commerce at (334) 298-3639.